The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is afoot, and there are plenty of films to watch, from 5 minutes to feature length. It’s hard to know what to choose so I did some choosing for you. I’ve crafted a list of 8 very impressive short docos that you shouldn’t miss. They are in no particular order, because they are all great, and deserve some attention.

Clockumentary

Clockumenary follows drummer and self-proclaimed time-master-traveller-controller-something-or-rather, Brian ‘Toggs’ Toggle. Toggs, a who drums in the together-at-time band called Sunset Thrills. The band doesn’t sound half bad, but Toggs, due to his obsession with time cant help but think about how the band sounds like shit (I assume he thinks they’re all out of time) and this attitude affects gigs, rehearsals and friendships. Well directed by Ursula Woods, this quirky little documentary give you some fun, light entertainment.

Directed by: Ursula Woods

Sea Rogue

“I look into their eyes, their lives are fading thin, I’ve been treading water all night, now I must swim.” Sea Rogue shares the harrowing, and devastating story of the Sea Rogue prawn trawler, which sank off of Byron Bay back in February of 2008. Surviving deckhand Michael Williams narrates the animates recounting of the scenes in between interviews with him. Using poetry to enhance the cool, yet he, saddening animations, Sea Rogue really is a documentary worth a few minutes of your time.

Directed by: Matt Blyth

Firesticks

Earlier on in 2020, ‘Indigenous Fire Practitioner’ Victor Steffenson appeared on ABC’s Q&A as a guest and explained why Indigenous people should be involved in land care, especially in regard to avoiding wildfires. Firesticks follows Victor, Kylie Clubb and Lewis Musgrave as they run a workshop about traditional burning techniques. This documentary is as enjoyable as it is important and sheds more light on what Victor spoke of on his Q&A appearance.

Directed by: Clare Richardson and Henning Goll

Bernard’s Dream

Bernard’s Dream is to bring back a once famous canoe race between Bathurst and Melville Islands. This short doco follows Bernard himself as he realizes the beginning of that dream by undertaking a project with some of the younger men at Wurrumiyanga; making a traditional canoe. Follow his journey over the course of this project with this beautiful, and sweet documentary.

Directed by: Mayeta Clark

{Perspectives} Jon Julio

WATCH. THIS. FILM.

From its stunning cinematography, to its awesome soundtrack, {Perspectives} Jon Julio will not be disappointed. Extreme Sport and Big Cat enthusiast Dom West takes the reins on this 5-minute documentary about the culture of roller-skating in Australia told through the eyes of respected skater, Jon Julio. It’s nothing short of exceptional.  

Directed by: Dom West

The Art of Doodling

Another quirky entry into the MDFF, The Art of Doodling is a gives enthusiastic doodlers Jane Diaz (aka Nearvous), Tom Muir and Rachel Mackay as they discuss their doodling addiction, and why they drawn to it (pun intended). It’s an interesting watch, and not one I regretted. With cool people and cool animations of the doodlers doodling, I am sure that you won’t regret giving it a look either.

Directed by: Nicola Macindoe

The Kebab Man

Ahmad ‘Al’ Karanouh arrived in Coonamble in 1999 with a caravan, some supplies, and pulled up to a vacant block and started selling kebabs. Known as The Kebab Man, Karanouh built himself into a pillar of the community, and now serves as the Coonamble shire Mayor. From being accused of celebrating the 9/11 twin tower tragedy to his proudest moment as a new Australian, The Kebab Man is a moving short that will leaving you with one thing in mind; Where the hell is the closest kebab joint?

Directed by: Declan Arrighi and Jordan Osborne

Caring for Ngarrindjeri Sea Country and Caring for Meintangk Country

While I said this listicle wasn’t in any particular order, I didn’t say I wouldn’t tell you which doco I thought was my favourite. While I absolutely loved {Perspectives} Jon Julio, it’s still a close second to Caring for Ngarrindjeri Sea Country and Caring for Meintangk Country. Despite the long title, the doco itself is quite short, but it’s extremely powerful. Uncle Cyril Karpany and Uncle Doug Nicholls explain about the importance of re-invigorating culture and country. Uncle Cyril and Uncle Doug are both captivating on screen, but it’s also the absolutely stunning cinematography that keeps you engaged.

Directed by: Benno Thiel